Wednesday, November 2, 2016

In Case of Overdose...

I've been out of the hospital for exactly a month now.

I was admitted around 5 AM on September 30th for an intentional insulin overdose.

 I took my total daily dose in one go, waited 30 minutes, and was about to inject another day's worth when I freaked out and did the only thing that made sense: asked Twitter what to do. I didn't know if it was something I could fix by chugging a lot of juice and monitoring it on my own. When I thought I'd gotten over the worst of it (blood sugar was 90), I got a call from my university's police department. Someone had anonymously reported from my Twitter that I was suicidal and in danger. I talked to the woman on the phone, declined help, and hung up. Five minutes later there were two cars from the city police sitting outside my parents' house at 3:30 in the morning. The police wouldn't go away until I let the paramedics check me over. Their meter read my blood sugar at 30, but the paramedics didn't quite believe it because I was coherent. After a recheck came back at 33, they believed it.

Fast forward half an hour. Three policemen and two paramedics are in my house, and there's a fire truck outside for some reason. The police dispatched to my house have had training in speaking to suicidal individuals, and are going on the word of the paramedics that I should really be going to the Emergency Room. By this point my parents are awake and the police are working to convince my mother to at least get me checked in the ER. So we went to the ER. I was drinking juice the whole way there.

When I checked into the ER around 5 AM, my blood sugar was 73, but quickly plummeted to around 40. I was given a Coke and IV glucose. The orders were written that I Was supposed to have my blood glucose levels checked every hour. Every hour they stuck my finger and gave me a can of coke every time I was below 90. The cans of Coke they give out in the hospital are 7.5 ounces. By my (and my bored caretaker's) best estimate, I had around one liter of Coke.

Finally, about 12 hours after my admission, my BG was >90 for two hours in a row. By this time, though, the nice doctors in the ER had transferred me upstairs and filed a 1013 on me (in the state of Georgia, a 1013 hold is basically a psych hold because I was considered a danger to myself). I was going to be stuck in the hospital for 48 hours to experience one of my worst fears: not having control over my diabetes management.

After ensuring my BG was stable above 90, the doctors did not want to give me any insulin at all, but gave me dinner, which I refused because they wouldn't give me insulin. A few hours after celebrating a BG of 110, they were looking for room in the ICU because they don't do insulin  drips on the main  floor and my BG was >450. Giving IV doses of Regular insulin eventually brought me under 450 (and kept me out of the ICU).

My usual dose of Lantus, when I'm on it, is 60 units. It's fairly large, I know. The doctors on staff did not want to give me more than 5 units that first night, and I fought my way up to 30 the next day. To this day I have no idea what the hell they did for my mealtime doses. They seemed like random numbers to me. In any case, I tried to avoid the carbs and pretend I wasn't hungry. After my initial lows, I didn't drop under 200 until I went home.

For some reason, health care folks seem to think my insulin pump is a problem. I went through this same thing last year when I was being treated or suicidal ideation. It's like they think I'd use my pump to give myself a ton of insulin? It'd be so much easier to use a syringe or a pen, in my opinion. Maybe they think it's a trigger? In any case, the doctors at the hospital (both the general doctor and the psych doctor) did not want me to have my pump back, but wanted me to go back on pens for a while. After discussing it with my parents, we talked to my doctor as a team and convinced him that using my pump is ultimately what's best for my health.

One of the most infuriating things about this whole ordeal is that the entire time I was in the hospital, they would not let me call my endocrinologist. At the same time they wouldn't trust what I said about my own treatment, which is fair given the reason I was in there in the first place. When I went to my endocrinology visit the next week I was told that the hospital I was in was the worst for diabetes care.

 At any rate, please don't worry about me. I'm at home with my supportive family. I have friends to talk to. I have a new therapist and she seems like a good fit. It's going to take some time, but I'm slowly getting over this hurdle and getting ready for the next.

It's taken me a month to get this blog post out because suicide is something that's hard to talk about. My hope is that by talking about it, I can help reduce some of the stigma around talking about it.